Harleydavidson and the Global Motorcycle Industry

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 “Case 11: harleydavidson.com and the Global Motorcycle Industry”

Harley-Davidson (H-D) motorcycles have proven to be a huge success not only by providing stylish motorcycles but accessories as well as the ability to finance through Harley.  The firm increased their value 74% alone in 1998.  Harley has obtained full ownership of Buell Motorcycle Company; a manufacturer of sport motorcycles based on H-D’s components and previously established Eaglemark Financial Services., Inc to provide financial services to dealer and customers (Peter/Donnelly Jr., (2008), p.354). 

H-D’s management believes that the Internet is a powerful marketing tool and its website is affectionately called the “anti-website” since it encourages visitors to get off-line and onto their motorcycles.  The website includes detailed information on the company products and had an amazing 1.5 million visitors in 1997 (Peter/Donnelly Jr., (2008), p. 356).

The internet has definitely changed everything with new technology. The brand message not only reaches a wider audience than many traditional methods, it also reaches the audience nearly instantaneously, speaks to its individual needs, and allows the consumer to tailor his or her experience towards a continued, personal relationship with the promoter (pcdi, 2010).

One reason the internet is a particularly good promotion medium for H-D is because the homepage is extremely user friendly.  The website is artistically developed and captures the experience an owner of any size or gender can have all the while reminding them that H-D also produces motorcycles with style, quality and a fit for anyone approach. They cater to both men and women as H-D is not gender bias.  A women is shown riding on a beautiful day with a huge smile on her face as to invite female visitors to explore, create and get on a Harley-Davidson to escape from the possible stress of everyday life; “At just 5’1” we made Leilanes dream come true” (Harley-Davidson, 2010).  The second reason the internet is a good medium is that it builds a strong relationship with the Harley-Davidson dealer networks by engaging a one to one interaction that evolves across the web page blueprint.  It also promotes E-dealer program for its dealers and correspondingly the customers gain the ease of marketing online. Also read Ducati vs Harley Davidson case study

It shows the fine tuning focus incorporated in its marketing strategy and finally the concept adopted will generate a paradigm shift from E-commerce to V-commerce (Morris, J. 2002).  The third reason the internet is a particularly good promotion medium is its marketing capabilities.  I love the website and have several friends that use the site to keep up with information including but not limited to events, attire, bike nights, police and firefighter sponsors, training programs, news and history.  Harley-Davidson has an accounted 1 million visitors logging on the website and around 19 million views on their web pages (Morris, J. 2002).

Different roles that Harley-Davidson’s web site plays for H-D owners is stressing upon their individuality and their independence as they are considered as separate businesses.  In addition, ensuring confidence in the customers for online trading because the website contains FAQs which help in the online shopping program and the customer can chose if he/she wants the merchandise/product to be shipped to him/her or purchase from a designated dealer.  For people shopping for a motorcycle they are able to build their choice of motorcycle on the H-D website.  For example, I would build a Sportster.  I would start by choosing the model and year I would like (i.e. 2010 or 2011), move onto picking a stock or customized bike, add my accessories (i.e. chrome, have to have chrome!), estimate my monthly payment, name my bike, save it, print it, and email my friends.

Finally I would visit the Harley dealer of my choice and pick up my awesome creation! (Harley-Davidson, 2010).  For people simply interested in motorcycles, Harley-Davidson allows them full across the board unlimited access to any and all questions that they could possibly ask.  Harley-Davidson’s website design targets the whole experience of riding which other competitors webpage’s do not provide.  With this approach you are able to capture the true spirit of the ride and from there you can navigate through the site to create a bike, look at bikes for sale, purchase items for your home or bike, sign up and chat with owners, or plan a trip around the world customized to your bike.  Harley-Davidson’s website is designed with a lot of time, research and customer satisfaction.  It is a huge advantage for Harley owners and prospective buyers.


  • J. Paul Peter/James H. Donnelly, Jr, (2008), Marketing Management, Knowledge and Skills Eighth Edition. pp. 354-356, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • J. Paul Peter/James H. Donnelly, Jr, (2008), Marketing Management, Knowledge and Skills Eighth Edition. Retrieved from online.pcdi.com, BM350_Assignment_07; McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • http://online.pcdi.com/ec/crs/cntentItem.learn?CourseID=2901074&47=6493555&dt=8%2F15%2) .
  • Harley-Davidson. (2010) Harley-Davidson, USA, viewed 15 August 2010,
  • https://customizer.harley-davidson.com/GMA_customizer.jsp?locale=en_US&bmlocale=en_US&locale=en_US&bmLocale=en_US
  • Morris, Jeff. Nov 1, 2002 12:00 PM) Easy Rider, viewed 15 August 2010,
  • http://multichannelmerchant.com/opsandfulfillment/orders/fulfillment_easy_rider/

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